Amillennialism — What Is It? What’s Wrong With It?
The doctrine of Amillennialism was formulated by Augustine of Hippo (354-430) around 400 AD, four centuries after the birth of Jesus Christ. ‘Amillennialism’ literally means “no millennium” and unsurprisingly maintains that there will be no literal thousand-year reign of Christ on earth before the eternal age of the new heavens and new earth, both of which are plainly detailed in Revelation 20-22.
Incredibly, this doctrine dares to suggest that we are already living in the Millennium; in fact, we’ve been supposedly living in it since the resurrection of Christ! Tell me, does it seem like Jesus has been reigning on earth for the last two thousand years? Does it appear like the devil has been bound up in the Abyss since Jesus’ resurrection in the 1st century? Of course not, the teaching is simply unbiblical and no sound student of the Scriptures would embrace the doctrine by simply reading the bible.
The only way Amillennialism can be accepted and perpetuated is by persuading Christian disciples through indoctrination in church or cemetery, I mean seminary. I repeat, believers would never see Amillennialism or accept it by merely reading/studying their Bibles. However, once disciples accept the idea that Amillennialism is unquestionable orthodoxy their studies of the scriptures will naturally be tainted and biased by their acceptance of this false doctrine; in other words, they’ll read the scriptures pre-supposing Amillennialism to be true, not freely or at face value, as is natural.
By contrast, when one studies the Bible free of such presuppositions, taking it simply for what it says, it isn’t difficult to see the error of Amillennialism.
The word ‘orthodox’ literally means “correct view.” What we determine to be orthodox Christian beliefs must be clearly and consistently taught in Scripture. In other words, if a doctrine is truly orthodox – that is, a “correct view” essential to Christian truth – it shouldn’t be necessary to engage in bizarre theological mumbo jumbo to prove its authenticity, like “spiritualizing” plain-as-day passages, which is what has to be done in order to “prove” Amillennialism.
The only way people who support Amillennialism can justify this doctrine is by convincing people that the Bible doesn’t really mean what it clearly says, which is that there will be a 7-year Tribulation period at the end of this age, then the devil will be bound up for a thousand years while Jesus Christ reigns on earth assisted by the resurrected saints (Revelation 20:1-6). To prove these plain truths one doesn’t have to resort to unjustified “spiritualizing” of the Scriptures, as is the case with Amillennialism. These truths can be discovered or proven simply by freely reading the bible unhindered by foreign presuppositions.
How did a doctrine like Amillennialism come to be considered Christian orthodoxy when it’s so clearly unscriptural? The reason is that there’s another basis besides Holy Scripture used to determine the content of orthodoxy, and that is tradition. When people speak of Christian tradition they’re usually referring to religious literature, creeds and councils from the Patristic Age, or “late antiquity,” which extended from the 4th to the 8th centuries and includes Augustine’s advocacy of Amillennialism, as well as other errors. Augustine was the most prominent and influential “Church father” of this period. Christian tradition is also derived from other eras, including the later medieval, Reformation and post-Reformation eras. The very fact that Christian tradition is historically cumulative testifies that the worldwide invisible Church is in an ongoing state of reform; in other words, Christendom is not in bondage to historical tradition.
For important details on Amillennialism and other views of the Millennium see this article by David Reagan, which features helpful diagrams.
Why Am I Coming Down So Hard On Amillennialism?
Answer: Not just because Amillennialism is so grossly unscriptural, but because of the immense damage it has done to the body of Christ and our understanding of eschatology ever since it was concocted. (Eschatology, if you’re not aware, is the biblical study of end times events). For instance, to this day genuine believers all over the globe believe that when a person dies he/she either goes to Heaven to sit on a cloud playing a harp forever or go to Hell to eternally roast in fiery torment. That’s it. If you think either of these is true then Amillennialism has had a negative impact on YOU. Unfortunately, most unbelievers think this is what the Bible actually teaches; and most unseasoned believers as well. Why? Because of Augustine’s false doctrine of Amillennialism and the Roman Church’s official embracing of it in 431 AD at the Council of Ephesus..
Thankfully, as with any erroneous belief, the truth will set us free (John 8:31-32). Do you want to know what the Bible actually teaches on the most vital issues of eschatology. Here are some articles to start:
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